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European prospect report: First of the season

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Everybody in Europe is playing real games now, so let's check in on the Leafs' prospects and see how they're all doing.

Vladimir Bobylyov in his former life in junior hockey.
Vladimir Bobylyov in his former life in junior hockey.
Ben Nelms/Getty Images

Sweden

SHL

Carl Grundström

To begin his season with Frölunda, Grundström has been playing in the Champions Hockey League. The first round of play there is over, and Frölunda, in the middle of their training camp, played as well as they needed to to win through to the next round. The first game of that round of 32 goes in the first week of October.

Grundström finished the opening round with a goal and an assist in four games. The last game of the first round marked the last appearance by Artturi Lehkonen for the team. He is off to training camp with the Montréal Canadiens, and it appears that Grundström will be slotted in to his old third line winger spot. This is an excellent opportunity for a young player, but a lot of responsibility for someone who is not quite 19.

The SHL season began on Saturday, September 17, and Frölunda played a tough match against Malmö. Grundström, in his first real game for the team was his usual physical self, but there were some signs of nerves. He was eclipsed by this summer's draft eligible Kristian Vesalainen, who is younger, and was played on the top line with captain Joel Lundqvist. Frölunda got two goals on the power play but lost the game 3-2. Grundström played just under 15 minutes.

Allsvenskan

Jesper Lindgren

Modo made their debut in the Allsvenskan on September 14, and won it in a convincing fashion. Lindgren played behind the second line of forwards, and had just over 16 minutes in the game, so he is getting the kind of ice time that makes playing in a lower level league worth it.

In their second game, an overtime loss, he was still listed as the second unit defender, but his ice time dropped to just over 10 minutes behind the third unit man. This may be a sign that the team was too optimistic about his ability, or it might be a blip. We'll know better as his season progresses.

Pierre Engvall

Mora IK also played their opening two games and got a win and a loss. Engvall was on the third line for both, notched a second assist on one goal and played around 16-17 minutes per game.

Russia

KHL

Vladimir Bobylyov

Bobylyov (I'm using the KHL spelling for now) has gone from Canadian junior hockey to the KHL with no stops in between, and he is making out okay. His team, Spartak, is a rebuilding team doing fairly well this year.

He has been in six games, has one assist and is averaging just under eight minutes a night, or 11 shifts, so fourth unit territory.

Yegor Korshkov

Korshkov, who is a year older than Bobylyov, has moved from Russian junior hockey dominance to a very good showing on Lokomotiv so far this year.

He has appeared in nine games, has one goal and one assist and is playing around 17 minutes a night on the third unit. He is shooting at a very high rate--always a sign of a high level player--and is up with the top two lines in terms of shots on goal per game.

He has also shown a surprising level of physical play, hitting a lot (for the KHL) and effectively, for all he still looks like a giraffe on skates. He is not the toughest player in the corners or along the boards, but he works at it. He has the height, now he just needs the mass to catch up, and he'll be formidable.

Lokomotiv is a fast, high-flying team that looks a lot like last year's Marlies, and Korshkov fits right in.

MHL

Nikolai Chebykin

Chebykin, a late round draft pick last summer, is playing in the Russian junior league, and he's got four goals in four games and is leading his team in points. If that keeps up, he might need a tougher challenge.